Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Is she or isn't she? Philaenis I

 According to Greek lore, Philaenis was a woman author who wrote a treatise on erotic arts. Because of this, the name Philaenis was used for a stock character of a woman who exceeded Greco-Roman gender roles. Whether she showed excessive lust, same-sex desire, or had children out of wedlock, the name Philaenis was used as an umbrella-term to cover these "unladylike" behaviors.

However, several authors vehemently defended the historic Philaenis, claiming that she was not the author of the treatise:


Ego vero, Viri amici, Chrysippum Stoae antistitem cum ob alia multa demiror, tum hoc nomine laudo, quod ob Obsonandi artem celebratum Archestratum semper eodem loco cum Philaenide posuerit ille, cui tribuitur lascivum DE REBUS VENERIS scriptum; quod Aeschrio quidem Samius, iambicus poeta, ait a Polycrate sophistra confectum, quo obtrectaret feminae, quae honestissima fuisset. Sunt autem (Aeschrionis) iambi huiusmodi:

"Ego Philaenis, Samosa inter mortales,

hic senio confecta iaceo.

Ne me, o stulte nauta, promontorium circumnavigans

ludibrio habe & risui opprobrioque.

Non enim, per Iovem, non, per inferos Iuvenes,

non sui in viros libidinosa, non illis me prostitui.

Sed Polycrates, genere Atheniensis

astutus blatero & lingua maligna,

scripsit quae scripsit: ego enim sum nescio.


Χρύσιππον δ᾽, ἄνδρες φίλοι, τὸν τῆς στοᾶς ἡγεμόνα κατὰ πολλὰ θαυμάζων ἔτι μᾶλλον ἐπαινῶ τὸν πολυθρύλητον ἐπὶ τῇ ὀψολογίᾳ Ἀρχέστρατον αἰεί ποτε μετὰ Φιλαινίδος κατατάττοντα, εἰς ἣν ἀναφέρεται τὸ περὶ ἀφροδισίων ἀκόλαστον σύγγραμμα,  ὅπερ φησὶ ποιῆσαι Αἰσχρίων ὁ Σάμιος ἰαμβοποιὸς Πολυκράτη τὸν σοφιστὴν ἐπὶ διαβολῇ τῆς ἀνθρώπου σωφρονεστάτης γενομένης, ἔχει δὲ οὕτως τὰ ἰαμβεῖα:

 

ἐγὼ Φιλαινὶς ἡ ' πίβωτος ἀνθρώποις

ἐνταῦθα γήρᾳ τῷ μακρῷ κεκοίμημαι.

μὴ μ᾽, ὦ μάταιε ναῦτα, τὴν ἄκραν κάμπτων

χλεύην τε ποιεῦ καὶ γέλωτα καὶ λάσθην:

οὐ γὰρ μὰ τὸν Ζεῦν, οὐ μὰ τοὺς κάτω κούρους,

οὐκ ἦν ἐς ἄνδρας μάχλος οὐδὲ δημώδης:

Πολυκράτης δὲ τὴν γενῆν Ἀθηναῖος,

λόγων τι παιπάλημα καὶ κακὴ γλῶσσα,

ἔγραψεν ἅσσ᾽ ἔγραψ᾽; ἐγὼ γὰρ οὐκ οἶδα.


Dear friends, I admire the Stoic icon Chrysippus for many reasons, but especially because he considered Archestratus’ Cookbook equal to Philaenis’ flirty book On Love.  However, the iambic poet Aeschrion of Samos, said that this is a lie of that the sophist Polycrates created to slander this chaste woman. He states,

“I am Philaenis, slandered among mortals,

I was brought down by blessed old age.

Foolish sailor, as you sail around the sharp promontory,

Do not laugh at me, or slander me.

For I swear by Zeus and his Sons in the Underworld

That I am not promiscuous, nor did I cavort with men lustfully.

Polycrates the Athenian, with his clever words and evil tongue

Wrote what he wrote; I am ignorant of it.

–Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae VII.p.335a-c; Translated into Latin by Iohannes Schweighaeuser (1805)


Samiae hoc sepulcrum Philaenidis. Sed affari

sustine me, et ad-cippum prope, o vir, accede.

non sum illa quae muliebris attribuit [dura]

opera et Pudorem non reputavit deum;

sed animo-pudica, hae testor meum tumulum; si quis vero

infamans protervum finxit commentarium,

huius quidem revelet tempus nomen, sed detestabilem mea

ossa exsultent fama repelentis.

τῆς Σαμίης τὸ μνῆμα Φιλαινίδος: ἀλλὰ προσειπεῖν

τλῆθί με, καὶ στήλης πλησίον, ὦνερ, ἴθι.

οὐκ εἴμ᾽ ἡ τὰ γυναιξὶν ἀναγράψασα προσάντη

ἔργα, καὶ Αἰσχύνην οὐ νομίσασα θεὸν [p. 246]

ἀλλὰ φιλαιδήμων, ναὶ ἐμὸν τάφον εἰ δέ τις ἡμέας

αἰσχύνων λαμυρὴν ἔπλασεν ἱστορίην,

τοῦ μὲν ἀναπτύξαι χρόνος οὔνομα: τἀμὰ δὲ λυγρὴν

ὀστέα τερφθείη κληδόν᾽ ἀπωσαμένης.



This is the tomb of Philaenis of Samos.

Approach, mortal, my epitaph:

I am not the woman who wrote unladylike deeds,

Nor did I deny Modesty was a goddess.

But I was modest, as my tomb attests;

If anyone dishonors my reputation,

May time destroy his name.

May my bones rejoice in no longer being associated with that reputation.

--Greek Anthology VII.450; Translated into Latin by Hugo Grottius


ATHENAEUS

MAP:

Name:  Athenaeus

Date:  2nd c. CE

Works:  Deipnosophists

 

REGION  4

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Athenaeus was a scholar who lived in Naucratis (modern Egypt) during the reign of the Antonines. His fifteen volume work, the Deipnosophists, are invaluable for the amount of quotations they preserve of otherwise lost authors, including the poetry of Sappho.

 ROMAN GREEK LITERATURE

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)



<Anonymous>

MAP:

Name:  ????

Date: 

Works:  Greek Anthology; Anthologia Graeca; Florilegii Graecii

 

REGION  UNKNOWN

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 The Greek Anthology is a modern collection of Greek lyric poetry compiled from various sources over the course of Greco-Roman literature. The current collection was created from two major sources, one from the 10th century CE and one from the 14th century CE. The anthology contains authors spanning the entirety of Greek literature, from archaic poets to Byzantine Christian poets. 

 Byzantine Greek

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)



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